Deals of the week: Travel via Lille, cheap channel trips, supersonic deals

Click to follow
The Independent Travel

Lille is reinforcing its role as the Clapham Junction of Europe, with the latest deals from Eurostar for travel from London Waterloo. The Channel Tunnel rail company has hooked into the French TGV computer network and is able to sell tickets to stations in provincial France itself, rather than referring travellers to Rail Europe. Many destinations are available with a cross-platform connection in Lille, though some still require a change of station in Paris.

A train

Lille is reinforcing its role as the Clapham Junction of Europe, with the latest deals from Eurostar for travel from London Waterloo. The Channel Tunnel rail company has hooked into the French TGV computer network and is able to sell tickets to stations in provincial France itself, rather than referring travellers to Rail Europe. Many destinations are available with a cross-platform connection in Lille, though some still require a change of station in Paris.

To mark the leap forward – and to counter no-frills flights, Eurostar has cut fares. It is selling "Eurostar Plus" tickets to Caen, Dijon, Poitiers, Rouen and Tours (including the theme park Futuroscope) for £79 return. Any station in Holland or Belgium is available at the same price. The first-class fare is £145 return, which includes meals and drinks on Eurostar. Other destinations in France are available for £10, £20 or £30 more, with the highest band – £109 – applying to Biarritz, Nice ( pictured) and Perpignan. Children between four and 11 get a £25 discount. The promotion lasts until 15 September; book on 08705 186 186 or www.eurostar.co.uk.

A boat

Book by Friday 28 June, and you can cross the Channel for a short break with a car and four passengers for under £100. The no-frills ferry company Norfolkline (0870 870 1020; www.norfolkline.com) is selling three-day returns from Dover to Dunkerque for as little as £79. If you travel in either direction on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the fare rises by £10, so the highest is £99 (out Friday, back Sunday). The offer applies for the rest of the year – except during the school summer holidays, 19 July-4 September. The company launched online bookings this week, but test bookings made on Monday failed to work – and no incentive is offered for buying on the internet.

A plane

Two years after the fatal crash of an Air France Concorde in Paris, both the French national carrier and British Airways are operating the supersonic jet to and from New York.

In July and August, both airlines offer special deals to fill seats – business travellers fly less frequently in summer, so fares are cut to tempt travellers. Dial A Flight (0870 900 2303; www.dialaflight.com) has a special of £2,299 going out one way in Concorde, travelling in economy the other. You must stay in America over a Saturday night.

If you prefer to combine supersonic travel with business class, Quest Travel (0870 444 5552, www.questtravel.com) has an impressive deal with Air France. For a fare of £2,699 you fly from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heathrow, London City, Manchester, Newcastle or Southampton, via Paris, in business class to New York. You return on Concorde to Paris, and go home in business class.

Comments